By DANIEL SUDDEATH
NEW ALBANY —
After scoring three touchdowns in the fourth quarter and claiming their first lead of the game with 2:45 left in the contest, New Albany seemed destined to pull out an epic come-from-behind win against Seymour.
But the Owls found a way to sneak out a win on Buerk Field, as Zach Schlatterer kicked his first field goal of the season with just eight seconds left on the clock, and the 26-yard boot lifted Seymour High School to a 22-20 win over the Bulldogs Friday.
The Owls (3-5, 3-3 Hoosier Hills Conference) appeared to be beaten when Seymour quarterback Austin Sutton’s fourth down pass was intercepted by New Albany defensive back Corey Grangier near the 50 with less than two minutes remaining.
But instead of taking a knee or running out of bounds, Grangier back peddled and attempted to advance with the football. While being tackled by a Seymour player, he fumbled and the ball was recovered by the Owls at the New Albany 48.
Moments later, Sutton, as he did on several occasions Friday, converted a crucial fourth down play when he hit running back Hunter Klakamp with a 16-yard pass to move the ball to the 29.
After a penalty on first down, Sutton scrambled for 10 yard gain to move the Owls to the 24. He then found running back Tanner Belcher with less than a minute left on the clock with a 16 yard pass that put the Owls inside the Bulldogs’ 10.
Sutton spiked the bowl to stop the clock on first down, and then heaved incomplete passes on second and third downs. After being 0 for 2 in his previous attempts this year, Schlatterer’s kick found its way through the uprights and put Seymour on top for good.
Bulldog wide receiver Ravon Wright broke several tackles and found some open space on the kickoff return, but he was pushed out of bounds by two Seymour defenders as time elapsed in the Hoosier Hills Conference clash.
New Albany (4-4, 3-3 Hoosier Hills Conference) stormed back after trailing 19-0 with 9:28 left in the fourth quarter following Sutton’s third and final touchdown pass of the night.
New Albany marched 83 yards on just five plays on the next possession, as quarterback Michael Diehl kept several plays alive with his scrambling ability and found wide receiver Landon Howard for a 40 yard gain and completed an 18 yard pass to Wright to move the ball to the Owls 22.
Running back Tuwan Payton finished the drive with a 22-yard touchdown scamper, as he headed right at the line then cutback to open space on the left to find the end zone.
On the next Seymour possession, New Albany defensive end Marquil Hastings intercepted a deflected pass to set the Bulldogs up at the Owls 31. Wright caught a 15 yard pass from Diehl and with Vincent Falcone’s extra point, New Albany had closed the gap to 19-14 with 6:12 remaining.
New Albany’s defense forced the Owls into a quick punt on the next drive, and the Bulldogs got the ball back with 4:48 left in the fourth quarter.
Wright hauled in a fourth down pass from Diehl to move the ball into Seymour territory.
Diehl would later scramble 19 yards to move the football to the 15. On the next play, Payton broke his second touchdown run of the evening and put New Albany up 20-19.
The two point conversion failed, and Seymour with the help of the fumbled interception drove the ball 71 yards to setup the game-winning field goal.
Bulldogs head coach Charlie Fields said New Albany’s tilts with Seymour are traditionally close, and that he was proud of how his team battled back in the second half on Senior Night.
The last drive of the game wasn’t the only last minute score the Owls mustered. On the final play of the first half, Logan Richey caught a 35-yard touchdown pass to put Seymour up 7-0.
“I told them at half time that they were going to prove what kind of program we are,” Fields said.
Fields defended Grangier and said those kinds of mistakes happen in high school football.
“He was trying to make a play. He was excited,” after intercepting the pass, Fields said.
With rival Floyd Central High School next on the schedule for New Albany, Fields believes his team will use the heartbreaking defeat as motivation and will play with a lot of emotion next week.
“These guys will build off this, they’ve done it all year,” he said. “I am very proud of this team.”